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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (11,819 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert Harris Narrator: John Lee Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2003 ISBN: 9781415900963
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All along the Mediterranean coast, the Roman empire’s richest citizens are relaxing in their luxurious villas, enjoying the last days of summer. The world’s largest navy lies peacefully at anchor in Misenum. The tourists are spending their money in the seaside resorts of Baiae, Herculaneum, and Pompeii.

But the carefree lifestyle and gorgeous weather belie an impending cataclysm, and only one man is worried. The young engineer Marcus Attilius Primus has just taken charge of the Aqua Augusta, the enormous aqueduct that brings fresh water to a quarter of a million people in nine towns around the Bay of Naples. His predecessor has disappeared. Springs are failing for the ?rst time in generations. And now there is a crisis on the Augusta’s sixty-mile main line, somewhere to the north of Pompeii, on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius.

Attilius, decent, practical, and incorruptible, promises Pliny, the famous scholar who commands the navy, that he can repair the aqueduct before the reservoir runs dry. His plan is to travel to Pompeii and put together an expedition, then head out to the place where he believes the fault lies. But Pompeii proves to be a corrupt and violent town, and Attilius soon discovers that there are powerful forces at work, both natural and man-made, threatening to destroy him.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marcy | 2/19/2014

    " I listened to this in the car (so does that count??) and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm not sure how I would have felt had I read the pages instead, but it was a very entertaining listen. Although some of the voices were annoying, the characters were colorful, and the story brought out the images of ancient Pompeii in vivid detail. I loved hearing about what I have imagined of those fascinating times. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Piero | 2/18/2014

    " Simply great... it was like living the last days of Pompei "here and now"! ;) "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Georgia Smith | 2/16/2014

    " A weak story with dull characters and a forgettable ending. None of the motivations for anyone involved in the story felt real - they felt like explanations the author conjured up to make the plot move in a specific way. There didn't seem to be any PASSION involved in any of the characters, and I felt nothing for any of them. It was an easy enough read, which is why I got through it in a day, but left me feeling nothing throughout. Some of it was interesting, but I knew most of the facts already and it didn't really show much about the old way of living. It was a plain, boring book filled with nothing except meaningless words. I'm not recommending this to anyone. It left me feeling so 'eh' that if you wanted to read it, I wouldn't even be bothered convincing you not to. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bonnie | 2/12/2014

    " Meh. Very detailed with a wrap it ending that was a bit too hurried. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alan Reynolds | 2/9/2014

    " One of the best books I have ever read - stunning "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joanne Lynham | 2/3/2014

    " Ok slightly boring at times but interesting historically "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 1/31/2014

    " I enjoyed reading this fictional history account of Pompeii. The story line was interesting and there were many historical and factual details that made me feel like I was learning at the same time.I plan to read more by Robert Harris. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Docktoag | 1/31/2014

    " If you like historical narratives, I think it is a good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 1/17/2014

    " I enjoyed this book. Well written and interesting subject matter "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aimee | 1/14/2014

    " It had me gripped from the very beginning- and I haven't been gripped to a book for a long while. The only two 'complaints' I have is that towards the end of the book Harris tends to give lengthy descriptions. For example, when Attilius is sailing with Pliny and is describing how the boat is being sailed and what they can see. I know it all adds to the thriller-aspect of it, but due to other parts which I was itching to read about, I grew qutie frustrated that I couldn't get to the part I wanted to read already ! Also the end of the novel could have done with an extra passage about a certain aspect...but I won't say what as I don't want to give any spoilers way! Everyone should read this book!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rochelle | 1/14/2014

    " Another really enjoyable historical novel. Definitely recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pete | 1/13/2014

    " Very well written, engaging story, and a good history lesson to boot. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Samuel | 1/10/2014

    " Pretty good depiction of what it may have been like during the eruption of Vesuvius. Some unnecessary descriptions of Roman excesses, but all in all a tight novel with a nice closing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carlos Turnbull | 1/3/2014

    " Not as good as Fatherland but really enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Defneandac | 1/1/2014

    " Great historical thriller.Harris is very good at bringing historical figures to life. Deeply searched and wonderfully crafted book. Reader lives the daily life of Romans and learn a lot about the Roman engineering. Hard to put down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leslie | 12/30/2013

    " A terrific window on the amazing engineering and cultural feats of the Roman world. A gripping story - I had a hard time putting this one down, even though the ending is known from the start. I recommend this highly if you are a fan of historical semi-fiction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jannine | 12/23/2013

    " Well researched, with fascinating details about the ancient aqueducts and how brilliantly engineered they were. Also an excellent story. We know the inevitable ending, but I enjoyed hearing all the details about how the whole process happened. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rezanna F. Anjarsari | 12/23/2013

    " Supercool novel! A fiction novel with some reasearches from the past real event at ancient Pompeii, Neapoli! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Craig | 12/21/2013

    " Eh, it was ok. Kinda dragged on...and on...and on "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lewis Hyam | 12/21/2013

    " Great re-imaging of the story of 79ad "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paige | 12/20/2013

    " Absolutely loved this book! It was a perfect balance of non-fiction and fiction, and kept me wanting to learn more. Love story, drama, mystery, death and survival. Must read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily | 12/16/2013

    " I enjoyed this as much the second time as the first. I just love how Harris packs this with so many real fact without compromising the exciting plot. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chandra | 12/9/2013

    " A fast and gripping read with a wonderful hero. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jackie | 12/7/2013

    " enjoyed this one but it had some weak spots "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 11/24/2013

    " I really enjoyed this book. The storytelling was tight, the plot arc polished and it was exciting through to the end. I don't read that much historical fiction but I felt like I was learning about the aqueducts, volcanoes and Rome without lectures and boring lists of facts. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel | 11/21/2013

    " I don't usually like non-fiction or anything that closely resembles non-fiction but this book was actually really good. I thought Harris was able to weave a plausible story the way life might have been like for the different people living around Pompeii. An interesting perspective. Great book! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Abby | 11/15/2013

    " So far so good. I just need to finish it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mariesa | 9/18/2013

    " A good read, but the characters weren't quite developed enough to merit a higher rating. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Scott | 7/31/2013

    " A novel set in Pompeii before/during the eruption of Vesuvius. The end was pretty exciting. Add a star if you're really interested in Roman aqueducts (and/or engineering in general.) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carl Nelson | 6/8/2013

    " A quick and easy read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lyn LeJeune | 4/7/2013

    " when I read this book, being a junkie about anything to do with Rome, I read everything by Robert Harris.....enthralling and you will be there in Rome at its height and its fall. Not to be missed "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sylvia Olson | 2/18/2013

    " Extremely detailed account of the final days before the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.Istudied Latin for 5 years and really enjoyed the details in this book, but I did think the usual male-female sexual descriptions were emphasized too much "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 2/17/2013

    " Lots of great information about Vesuvius/Pompeii, and the later stages of the Roman Empire. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carolyn | 2/1/2013

    " Great read, exciting and emotional, especially because I was just in Pompeii two weeks ago so could picture the setting and scenery. The author made it all come alive for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adrian Collins | 12/17/2012

    " Fantastic book - one of my favourite historical novels I have read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancie Mills | 12/6/2012

    " I've read this book three times now. Great murder mystery combined with fascinating details of Roman life PLUS the most engaging account of the fabled eruption of Mount Vesuvius. What more could one ask for? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lee | 11/24/2012

    " Kinda sucked. Historically evocative, but not enough suspense leading us up to Pompeii: Judgment Day. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 9/1/2012

    " An amazing book! I throroughly enjoyed reading this book! The author was able to give you a sense of what life was like when tragedy hit Pompeii. A definite need to read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deni Skeens | 7/5/2012

    " I really enjoyed this book. It read very quickly, and appeared to be very well researched. The characters were extremely well developed and "attachable." I loved the conspiracy to hide the truth from the populace, good addition and certainly quite suspenseful! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carl Nelson | 4/19/2012

    " A quick and easy read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Helen Damnation | 3/21/2012

    " Harris takes the dead city of Pompeii and makes it live and breathe; bringing it so close that you could reach out and touch the ash. I think it's a compliment to his skill that, even though I know it was necessary, I was actually let down by the very, very ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alice | 2/11/2012

    " I read this book when it first came out, apparently. Because I got it as a Book on CD and got to the third CD before I was certain it was the same account. Worth reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kandice | 2/8/2012

    " I went through a stage where anything set in this time frame, in this part of the world was enought o keep me enthralled. This one was terrfic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rhiannon | 2/6/2012

    " An good, interesting read. One of those books I would have never read if not for book club, but I am glad I did. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 George Ilsley | 12/8/2011

    " Thought this was pretty good until I arrived at the anomalous line about global warming. Really jarring. Dropped a star just for that. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Bridgette | 11/6/2011

    " it just bored me from the very start. i did not enjoy it that much even though i do like to read historical fiction. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ange Ange | 9/14/2011

    " I Own it,Read it, Loved it! Roman History "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hannelore | 7/20/2011

    " A fine and interesting book, written with knowledgeable research and believable imagination. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John Dembowski | 6/16/2011

    " Another one of the best historical fictions I've ever read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jill | 6/8/2011

    " I just never got into this book and never finished it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Scott | 5/19/2011

    " A wonderful perspective from which to tell the story of the doomed city.
    As to the plotting and writing, howzabout ........ just plain awful! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Eric | 5/18/2011

    " So so. The last 40 pages were not bad, but it wasn't worth the wait. Told me more than I wanted to know about aquaducts. I read this for a book club; otherwise I would have chosen something else. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbie | 5/10/2011

    " Really liked this one. Feel like in addition to an entertaining read, I got some education on Vesuvius and Pompeii. Will be interested to see other titles by Robert Harris. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Krista | 5/10/2011

    " Interesting account of the days leading up to the eruption of Mt Vesuvius and the disaster itself. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patricia | 5/5/2011

    " Epic Harris, an intricate account of events at Pompeii,typing in with historical figures, explaining how water courses and buildings were constructed, and weaving everything together with richly-laden prose and intrigue. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jake | 4/28/2011

    " This was solid, if not quite as good as I was hoping it would be. Interesting setting, obviously. Not as good as The Ghost. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Daisy | 4/25/2011

    " This was so brilliant, the story and the excitement, and his ability to build anticipation when history tells us what will happen anyway is truly amazing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeanne | 4/19/2011

    " I can't believe I liked a book that was about the eruption of a volcano but it was great and hard to put down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alison | 4/12/2011

    " An interesting and quick read. However, it lacked depth od detail and character. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracey | 4/6/2011

    " Amazing how interesting aquaducts can be! "

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